During this extremely challenging time, I wanted to share some of the work that Long & Foster is doing to deal with the effects of the pandemic.
A HISTORY AND CULTURE OF PERSEVERANCE
Long & Foster has guided people home since 1968. Over the course of these past 50+ years, through real estate booms and busts, we weathered countless storms, growing stronger and more resilient as a result of those challenging experiences.
The crisis we are all living through today as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic is unlike anything any of us has experienced in our lifetime. There is no doubt that there are challenges ahead for all of us. I want you to know that our company is working hard to address the issues we are facing as an industry, and we are adapting to make sure our real estate brokerage and essential core services continue to serve the needs of our team members and our clients as this evolves.
Fortunately, our company was built for this moment. Not only are we capable of withstanding and overcoming this very serious situation, our family of essential service businesses are equally strong and focused on providing the very best care and service possible.
STRONG, CAPABLE AND PREPARED
The financial security of our company, backed by Berkshire Hathaway’s HomeServices of America, is unmatched in the industry. We are better positioned to manage through this volatility than any other real estate firm. As we work to navigate these uncharted waters together, be assured that our stability, strength and capabilities will provide the resources needed to position us for the future. Not a leap of faith or a wish, but a well-planned strategy that will guide us through these tumultuous times to make us even stronger in the future.
Long & Foster’s all-inclusive customer experience is proving to be invaluable during this crisis. One of the many challenges being faced in the industry is getting transactions settled. Because we have our own mortgage, title and insurance companies who work together, hand-in-hand as a team, we are able to make sure transactions are being handled in a way that ensures a safe and successful closing. Additionally, our investment in technology has given us the ability to conduct most of the financing, settlement and insuring processes virtually, which further protects our agents and clients in today’s environment.
While this pandemic is undoubtedly causing an economic slowdown, that does not mean it will turn into a severe recession…and even if it does, it is unlikely to result in a housing crisis. During three of the last five recessions in the United States, home values actually increased while one resulted in a 2% decline in values. The 2008 recession, which did experience a substantial loss in home values, was caused by easy access to mortgage credit. We no longer have the risk products that fueled that crisis such as interest-only loans, pay-option arms and balloon loans.
Also, there is a significant amount of equity in the housing market today versus then when buying at fully leveraged levels was common. Most importantly, today’s loans have been fully underwritten and documented, unlike the no-asset and no-income loans of the mid-2000s. As a result, the housing market is in a much healthier place today. In fact, just prior to the pandemic, the economic fundamentals in the U.S. housing market were stronger than ever. We believe that once the COVID-19 crisis is resolved, and the economy gets back on track, people’s desire to own a home will be stronger than ever.
OUR GREATEST STRENGTH
Resilience is perhaps the greatest strength any person or company can develop. It is a learned behavior—the capacity to cope with stress and adversity. Resilient people convert their emotions into a positive outlook, realizing that the challenges are temporary. They gain valuable insight from the experience, face their fears and focus on creating a positive future.
Long & Foster has a long history of being resilient and able to navigate troubled waters. That is no different now. In fact, we are positioned much better than any of our competitors to get through and past this current set of challenges. Rest assured that we will be there for you, building upon our mutual success, now and in the future.
This crisis may not get easier for a while, but we can all become stronger and more resilient through it—braver and more courageous knowing that life is not what happens to us but within each of us.
We will navigate this storm together…and come out even stronger on the other side. In the meanwhile, stay positive and use this time well. Envision and plan for your future success. Reach out to support those you care about.
Most importantly, remain vigilant and stay well.